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WAIKATO RAILSTOP
Two suicides, not in the one season
          exactly, as we count what is materially
a season: principally I remember for
this railstop a so ordinary quality,
          so neutral, it may be
               distinguished for,
by, what was unusual there, as though
          intensely they shot peepholes through February’s
smoke and haze revealing, instantaneous and all-
summing, purest motives, marrying perdition
          with action. Do not, please,
               misrepresent
the hamlet as an enthusiasm
          for the mortuary-minded in a death-centred
democracy. That certain young women should find
themselves unseasonably with child is to be
          understood and even
               an interest
to those on outlying farms. There was also
          an engineer who built an aircraft in his backyard,
which he could not fly; ambition was not licensed
to go soaring. Such an ascent measures most days’
          custom of being flat.
               You may set off
one day from another if you wish or
          if you can, skirting their outlook in the sandy
pinebelts while the highway on the slight ridge above
consigns traffic elsewhere and a rake of coal-cars
          retreating south does not
               hurry, clacking
into the crossing and out, nor disturbs
          mynas and bulbuls from their squabbling. Let orchard
and vineyard tally freights of purpose. You do well
or wither and rot where, to entertain your summer
          listening, the child’s play
               musketry of
gorsepods fusillades at no target big
          enough to miss. Admiring does not get you far.
Wattleseeds crushed underfoot stink as from a knoll
you track further across the swamp ravelling out
          and winding mazily
               acres of peat
smoke their signals but no one, slouching hot,
          cares to separate smoke hulk from thundery cumulus.
Noon massed above blackens cloudland and a cuckold
below, seething skein by skein impartially.
          Outside the billiard room
               a truck backfires.
                                                                                                    15. 3. 58
Editor's note
Waikato Railstop: first published New Zealand Poetry Yearbook 8 (1958-59), 70; also in Inheritance and Selected Poems; the setting is Te Kauwhata
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